The policy tool Washington is most comfortable with, broad-based economic sanctions, do little to hurt the elites and government in power and do much to hurt the Iranian people. They give the government a convenient scapegoat for its own economic mismanagement, while strengthening the control of the IRGC and Iranian elites over the economy at the expense of Iran’s middle class.

The unfortunate reality is that while we seek to help, our options are limited for the time being.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to